WASHINGTON (AP) — The Republican-led Senate has confirmed Rex Tillerson as President Donald Trump’s secretary of state.
Senators voted 56-43 largely along party lines to approve Tillerson’s nomination to be the nation’s chief diplomat.
Most Senate Democrats opposed Tillerson’s nomination, angering Republicans who considered the former Exxon Mobil CEO to be highly qualified for the post.
Sen. Ben Cardin, the Foreign Relations Committee’s top Democrat, says he feared Tillerson would be a “yes man” and would not be able to prevent Trump from pursuing a misguided foreign policy that leads the country “on a march of folly.”
But Republicans had the numbers to push Tillerson’s nomination through. But three Democrats — Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota and Mark Warner of Virginia — and independent Angus King of Maine joined Republicans in backing the choice.
Tillerson’s ties to Russia and his stand on sanctioning Moscow have been a point of contention.
Previous presidents, both Republicans and Democrats, had a much easier time securing Senate confirmation for their nominees for secretary of state than Trump. The Senate confirmed President Barack Obama’s choice of John Kerry 94-3 and Hillary Clinton 94-2. President George W. Bush’s nominee Condoleezza Rice easily won confirmation 85-13. Colin Powell was confirmed for the job by voice vote.—–Inside woodtv.com: President Trump’s first 100 days